Manchester United will be aiming to bounce back to winning ways when they lock horns against Southampton at Old Trafford this week in the Premier League.
After a disappointing last week, Manchester United will be aiming for a course correction when they face off against Southampton in Matchweek 22 of the 2020/21 Premier League at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.
Having been at the top of the league not so long ago, Manchester United yielded their advantage after suffering a shock defeat to Sheffield United last midweek before they were held to a goalless draw by Arsenal at the weekend. This has left them in second place in the table, three points off of leaders Manchester City, who also have a game in hand.
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be hoping for a strong reaction from his team as he targets a victory in order to stay in touch with their neighbours at the top. However, things will not be easy against a Southampton side that has been highly impressive this term.
Even though the Saints have lost their last three league games, against Leicester City, Arsenal and Aston Villa, that has seen them slip down to 11th in the table, Ralph Hasenhuttl & co. have proven their credentials as worthy top-six contenders this season and a win on Tuesday could take them to just a point within Tottenham in sixth.
The reverse fixture played at St. Mary’s last November was a thrilling encounter as Manchester United came back from two goals down at half-time to complete a 3-2 win, with Edinson Cavani stealing the show with two goals and an assist. Ahead of their latest encounter this week, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
Manchester United have been handed an injury boost ahead of the visit of Southampton as midfielder Scott McTominay has recovered from his stomach cramps and is available for selection. The Red Devils have no other fitness issues and will have a full-strength squad on Tuesday night.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is likely to make a few changes to the side that took the field against Arsenal at the weekend. No alteration is expected in goal, however, with David de Gea a certain starter. In front of him, Eric Bailly is in line to replace Victor Lindelof as Harry Maguire’s defensive partner while Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw ought to be the two full-backs.
Paul Pogba, having started on the flanks against Arsenal, should move to the midfield double pivot against Southampton, although he will take up more advanced positions alongside Bruno Fernandes and try to unlock the Saints’ defence. Fred will be the other central midfielder, who will look to force turnovers and initiate quick transitions.
Marcus Rashford endured a forgettable outing against Arsenal and will be aiming to bounce back strongly, starting on the left wing. There is no looking past Fernandes as the No. 10 while Mason Greenwood should be reinstated to the lineup on the right flank, from where he will look to veer infield. Edinson Cavani should spearhead the Manchester United attack again, ahead of Anthony Martial.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): de Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw; Pogba, Fred; Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford; Cavani
Unlike his counterpart in the opposition dugout, Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has a host of roster issues to deal with. On Tuesday night, the Saints could be without as many as nine first-team players with Mohamed Salisu, Kyle Walker-Peters, Will Smallbone, Michael Obafemi, Theo Walcott and Nathan Tella all definitively ruled out.
In addition, Oriol Romeu, Jannik Vestergaard and Ibrahima Diallo are all major doubts for the game, giving the manager a lot to think about with regard to his team selection at Old Trafford. Alex McCarthy is a certain starter between the sticks for the south coast outfit, with the rest of the side lining up in a 4-4-2 formation in front of him.
Captain James Ward-Prowse, who started at right-back in the last game, should feature there again, as Yan Valery has been linked with a loan move away on deadline day. Ryan Bertrand should get the nod on the left side of the defence, flanking the centre-back partnership of Jan Bednarek and Jack Stephens.
In the absence of Romeu and Diallo, and Ward-Prowse starting in defence, Stuart Armstrong should start in the middle of the park, where he will be partnered by Alex Jankewitz with the duo tasked with pressing their Manchester United counterparts intensely to reclaim possession before launching attacks.
On the flanks, Nathan Redmond and Moussa Djenepo are likely to start for the Saints. Upfront, there is no looking past the strike partnership of Danny Ings and Che Adams, both of whom can cause a lot of problems with their link-ups. Off the ball, the duo will look to put pressure on the United defenders and prohibit them from playing out from the back.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): McCarthy; Ward-Prowse, Bednarek, Stephens, Bertrand; Djenepo, Armstrong, Jankewitz, Redmond; Adams, Ings
- Over 2.5 Match Goals @ 1.57
- Manchester United to WIN from Behind @ 6.50
- Manchester United are undefeated in their last 10 matches against Southampton across all competitions.
- Southampton have failed to score in five of their last seven matches in the Premier League.
- Manchester United have come from behind to win 10 Premier League games against Southampton, including the reverse fixture earlier this season. No side has come from behind to beat another team as many times in the history of the competition (Manchester United also 10 vs Newcastle).
- Having lost 13 of their first 14 Premier League away games against Manchester United (D1), Southampton have lost just two of their last seven visits to Old Trafford (W2 D3).
- Manchester United have lost four of their ten Premier League home matches this season (W4 D2).
Player to Watch
The veteran striker arrived at Manchester United last summer on a free transfer, after his contract with PSG had run out. While there were quite a few who questioned the move, Cavani, so far in his tenure at Old Trafford, has managed to silence the doubters with some impactful displays, accumulating a tally of 4 goals and 2 assists in 14 league games.
And, without question, his best performance in Manchester United colours came in the reverse fixture against Southampton, when he came off the bench to inspire a stirring comeback, assisting Bruno Fernandes before scoring two goals, including a stoppage-time winner.
A nice piece of history awaits for Cavani should he score against Southampton on Tuesday night, as he would become the first Manchester United player to score 2+ goals in consecutive Premier League appearances against an opponent since another No. 7, Cristiano Ronaldo, did it against West Ham United in 2008.
Manchester United 2-1 Southampton
Manchester United have not won in their last two league games while Southampton have lost three in a row in the Premier League. So, both teams will be gunning for a victory when they take the field at Old Trafford on Tuesday night. However, given the number of injuries that Southampton have puts them at a clear disadvantage.
And even though, United lost their last home game at Old Trafford, they have won four of their last six in the league at home and should be good for another victory on Tuesday. The Hard Tackle predicts a narrow win for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, taking them level on points with league leaders Manchester City.